Well. We just walked in from Julie and Julia (the other part of we being he who just got off a plane and is "the butter to my bread"). And I cried during the movie. Not just once, but probably a half dozen times. Why? Because a blog (that silly word) can change your life. And because it was a joy to see two strong women, both artists, persevere (and cry a little, too). Good to see a couple of husbands that supported these strong women, these artists. And (especially) good to see someone else on the kitchen floor having a meltdown. I don't know that any of my meltdowns have been on the kitchen floor (more likely the front hall, as misfortune would have it); they, have, though, felt a lot like slipping on stuffing and feeling that the world just sploched down around you and the chicken.

Just about all I could think of during the movie was this little blog, which I've entertained giving up on in the past couple of weeks. Why blog? There's no money in it. If you're not seriously self-promotional, there's probably not going to be someone calling you up for the big design job of your dreams. It's hard to blow your own horn and have anyone want to listen for long. I've been hesitant to trot out most of my published work, and I'm not sorry for that. A perfectionist, I always see what could have been done better. An optimist, I always hope I'll get to do it absolutely right the next time. So the little blog simply became a way to communicate what seemed to matter a bit at the moment. Next time was for later.

Here's the thing about next-times: we just don't know when we're going to have them. On a quick jaunt back to see a marvelous young man (my sister's oldest child) graduate from high school, I went for a walk (day after the graduation) on a lovely and somewhat steamy afternoon in Northern Virginia. The rest is sort of a long story, but the gist of it is that I ended up in an emergency room courtesy of a heart problem I've had for ages (since birth, we now know) which had remained elusive (though it's popped up often in the past seven years) and troublesome (when is it not troublesome that doctors cannot find what is wrong but it happens over and over?) and honestly pretty darned frightening. My brave brother-in-law had the pleasant (I am so sorry to have put him through it) assignment of getting me to the hospital. Again. It's a long story.

Where I'm going, though, is that for five and a half days I had time to think about next-times in the surprising surrounds of the cardiac unit of a hospital. Turns out, I had something called atrioventricular nodal reentry tachycardia. And (I was truly lucky to end up where I did, in the hospital I was in, surrounded by loving family and excellent caregivers, including someone named Ed that I am pretty sure is an angel, an angel that used to be in the Army and is now a critical care nurse at Fairfax Hospital) the good news was that a brilliant team of doctors was able to take care of the situation with a procedure that (during the brief time I was awake) looked more like something out of a fabulous science fiction movie (think myriad computers, doctors on monitors, screens showing small armies of rogue cells being zapped) than anything else I could think of.

So what about next-times? We might be very thankful to get them. I am. What I know about the blog is that it has brought no money, a few small jobs, and untold fortune into my life. A half-dozen once-upon-a-time friends have found me through it, friends from long ago, and I know how lucky I am for that. A few dozen more have been introduced to me. Several of these people have changed the course of my life with wit and wisdom and the sort of caring attitude that speaks to your soul as nothing else can. Do I believe in something bigger in the universe? Yes. Has it, in part, made itself clear to me through this silly word (blog)? Yes again. I have a name for this bigger part of the universe. Your name for it might be different.

But I sat out in a small garden under a sky with a few stars scudded about and a soft summer's night breeze one evening in Virginia, about a month ago, and told that part of the Universe that I love that I would be grateful to have my heart working well again. It had made me so very tired, for so very many years, and it would be a great relief to catch my breath once more (it often felt as though there was never enough quite enough oxygen).

And I realized, then and now and I hope forever, that strange things work their way in the universe, that silly words change lives, that people you love and care about abound if you will only let them. That spending time on this blog gave me hope (and even love) when I was tired and worn out and had no clear reason why. That the love given me by my family and friends is an inestimable treasure, the only fortune with which I will leave this world.

It all sounds a little serious, I know, but getting your heart repaired causes one to consider a few things.

at the met

In Visible Storage, The New American Wing

(I am so in love with this gallery that's it's
a pretty sure thing if they would make up a
little cot and give me a reading lamp I could
just about live there. With an occasional
salad from the new Cafe. Life being sweet.)

taken with trusty iPhone